Briefing with Scott McClellan on Russia and Iran's Vows to Resume Uranium Enrichment (Excerpts)

May 9, 2005

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  • Russia

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Q I've got a question on Iran. Did the Russians say or offer anything new on Iran in the context of the recent vows by the Iranians to begin enrichment-related activities very soon? Will they be with us at the Security Council if it goes that far?

MR. McCLELLAN: Steve talked about it last night, in terms of the context of the meeting. They did talk about Iran -- I think Steve pointed out that Russia has been supportive of the efforts that are going on by the Europeans. We continue to support the efforts of the Europeans to resolve this in a peaceful and diplomatic manner. Iran made a commitment to our European friends that during the negotiations that they would suspend all their enrichment and reprocessing-related activity. If they decided to take a step to restart some of those efforts, that would be contrary to the commitment that they made to the Europeans. So we want to continue to support the Europeans in negotiations.

And Iran -- we have been skeptical of Iran's intentions for quite some time, and that's because Iran's past -- Iran has a past where they hid their activities from the international community. And that's why it's important that there be some objective guarantee that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon under the cover of a civilian program. And the objective guarantee is no reprocessing or enrichment-related activity. That's a way to provide a guarantee that their intentions are not to develop a nuclear weapon. So we think that's very important. Europeans have said that they're prepared to look at the next step if Iran were to some reason take such a step and pull away from the negotiations.

Q Did Putin, in any fashion, indicate that he would stand with the U.S., and presumably with the Europeans, at the Security Council if Iran goes back to enrichment activities?

MR. McCLELLAN: Steve talked about that last night at the briefing. He talked about how that's kind of a hypothetical at this point, but that Russia has been very supportive of the efforts by the Europeans to resolve this matter in a diplomatic way.

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